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All posts by James Krukowski

10 Google Calendar Tips & Tricks You’re Probably Not Using

  1. Quick Add Events Through Your Browser: There are a couple different ways you can do this. The first is directly through your Google browser, where you can actually type in an appointment or event you have for a certain day and time. Simply type in either “make an appointment” or “create event”, then specify when it is and when you would like to have it (i.e. “Make an appointment for the vet next Tuesday at 1 pm). The Google browser will then prompt you with a confirmation option after you place your request into the search bar. This will add the appointment or event to your calendar once selected.
  2. Quick Add Events in Calendar: The second way to do this is through your calendar app in Google Drive. Here you can quick-add an event by selecting the down arrow next to the “create” button in the top left, and type in a similarly worded request (i.e. “Dentist appointment at 11 am tomorrow”). If it is formatted properly it will be promptly added to your schedule in Google Calendar.


  3. Use signup appointment slots (only available on Google accounts): This option will allow you set up a block of time within your calendar where people can reserve time slots and set up appointments with you. To do this, start by dragging open a span of time within your day schedule in Calendar. When entering the information for your selected block of time, you will be able to select either ‘Event’ or ‘Appointment Slots’. Ensure ‘Appointment Slots’ is selected. From here you can either set up the block of time as a single appointment or allow people to reserve a set segment of time within the block. These options are available upon selecting and editing the time slot. After setting this up you can invite people from your contacts to attend your event by going into ‘Edit’ and adding in your desired guests/clients. They will then be notified and be able to reserve a segment of time.


  4. Get your agenda emailed every day: If you’d like to receive an email every morning presenting you with your agenda for the day, this feature is easy to enable. Locate the ‘settings’ button within your calendar (top right) and click through the pages as follows: settings > calendars (at top of page) > edit notifications (under notifications) – on this page, scroll to the very bottom and check the unchecked box titled ‘agenda’ under the ‘email’ column. This will enable the daily agenda feature, which will allow Google Calendar to send a daily schedule to your Gmail every morning at 5 am.

  5. Use a Task List: With this feature, you are able to utilize a simple task list that can be displayed alongside your calendar. To enable, select ‘My Calendars’ on the far left of the screen and go down to ‘Tasks’ (this may be titled as ‘Reminders’ but can easily be changed by clicking on the small arrow next to ‘Reminders’ and selecting ‘switch to tasks’ on the following menu). Upon selecting the ‘Tasks’ option, a task column will appear on the far right of your calendar where you can create and edit current tasks. You can specify when they are to be completed by, and check them off once they are finished. Your tasks will also be linked to the day on which you set your deadline.
  6. Enable More features in Labs: To access additional features in your Google Calendar, select your settings button in the top right corner of the screen, then go down to ‘Labs’. Here you’ll find a list of utilities and options that aren’t available within the default layout of Google Calendar. Here you can allow yourself to set a picture as a background image, change the entire look and layout of Calendar, and enable other alterations.
    Once you select something from ‘Labs’, you may need to also enable in under the ‘Settings’ tab. It should be listed next to a checkbox on the Settings page, where you can simply select the checkbox, then save your changes to enable the new feature.
  7. Share Your Calendar With Others (With or Without a Google account): To share a calendar with one or more people who also have Google accounts, go to ‘My Calendars’ and select the down arrow on the calendar you want to share.  On the list of tabs that come up, a ‘Share Calendar’ option will be available. After clicking this option, you will be taken to a page where you can simply type in the Email of the person you wish to share with and alter their permission settings on the same page.

    If you need to share your calendar with someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Go to the top of the resulting ‘Share Calendar’ page, and select ‘Calendar Details’. On this next page, go down to where it says ‘Calendar Address’ where you’ll be able to click on one of two buttons for either ‘iCal’ or ‘HTML’ format. You’ll then be given a link that you copy and send to someone who doesn’t have a Google account. Upon using the link, the recipient will be able to view, but not edit your Google Calendar.
  8. Add a Friend’s Calendar or Other Interesting Calendars: In order to add a friend’s or acquaintance’s calendar, go to ‘Other Calendars’ at the far left of the calendar page. Click the down arrow on this feature and you will be presented with various tabs, one of which says ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’. You can then enter your friend’s Email, and a request will be sent to them. Once this is approved, their calendar will be visible within your own.

    To add other interesting calendars to your own, such as specific holidays, phases of the moon, sports schedules, etc., select ‘Browse Other Interesting Calendars’ instead of ‘Add a Friend’s Calendar’ on the list of tabs provided from ‘Other Calendars’. This will bring you to an extensive list of other specific calendars which you can incorporate into your own.
  9. Create All-Day Events: If you’d prefer to have an all-day event instead of selecting a given block of time on a certain day, you can do it by clicking on the space directly below the listed day of the week. After doing so you can title the event and treat it like any other created event in Calendar without it being time-specific.

    If you’d like to have a multiple-day event which isn’t time-specific, simply drag a row across those same top boxes of all the days which you want to have your event.
  10. Compare Calendars to Add Events: This feature goes along with the one that allows you to add a friend’s calendar to your own calendar. If you’re hoping to coordinate an event with someone you know, and want to make sure that they’ll be available during that time, you can access their calendar while adding an event to your schedule. Additionally, this will add the same event to their schedule so they’ll know when to attend.

    To set this up, you’ll first need to have added a friend’s calendar to your own (this process is explained in a previous tip). Then, when creating an event, go to ‘Edit’. On the ‘Edit’ page, the first screen you’ll see will be the ‘Event Details’ tab which will be titled at the top of the screen. You’ll want to select the tab next to it which will be titled ‘Find a Time’. Here you can add guests who have shared their personal calendars with you, and you can compare schedules side-by-side. Then, you can simply select a time block in which you’re both available and create a new event.

 

 

LastPass – Save and Secure Your Passwords

LastPass is a free online password management tool that can be accessed through the web or as a Google Chrome extension. It provides many verified security features and allows you to store basically any secret or personal information. Categories exist for securing everything from payment info, web passwords, and social security numbers, to classified notes along with other sensitive information. Once an account is created with LastPass it can be synced across all mobile devices so that information is always available. LastPass offers many competitive features compared with other password management tools and is simple to operate, only having the user memorize a single master password.

Features

The homepage for your LastPass account will be located within the LastPass “Vault”. Here you will be able to cycle through all of your stored secure information as well as add new information. All types of information can be neatly organized and categorized so they can easily be retrieved at a later time. LastPass offers an effective feature allowing you to share specific pieces of information with others via secure email. This is useful for items that are too sensitive to be sent through conventional methods. An emergency access feature exists to allow trusted individuals full access to your LastPass account in the case of an emergency. This will only be activated upon your approval.

Security Methods

The security methods used by LastPass are called AES-256 bit encryption, salted hashing, and PBKDF2 SHA-256. In short without technical explanation, these are a series of ciphers and encryptions which make it impossible for your LastPass account to be hacked, or viewed by LastPass admin. Using LastPass is 100% safe and secure.

As a Chrome Extension

If using LastPass in the form of a Google Chrome extension, It will appear as a little icon in the top-right of your browser. Upon being clicked, the LastPass icon will provide you with a variety of LastPass feature options. These include a link to your Vault, site and form-fill management, as well as a password generator among others. The extension simply provides quick access to the existing features which LastPass offers.

Advantages to Using LastPass

LastPass is one of the best free password management applications available for online use. While a paid $1 per month premium option is available, the free version offers almost all features that the average user would require. It is easy to use and provides a 100% safe method to store sensitive information with various provided features to ensure this. LastPass is great for the avid internet user in that it only requires you to memorize a single password. If you find yourself in need of an easy method to memorize passwords, etc., LastPass will, without a doubt, come in useful to you.

           

Wix – Design the Perfect Professional Website

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Wix is a unique website creation service that allows the user to easily formulate a web design around their product or service idea. A variety of professional looking templates is available to choose from for most website ideas. Concepts include more artistic designs for music or photography, or more business oriented designs focused on real estate or finance. The user can then customize the finer details within their template after choosing a design concept. This will allow the user to create a completely personalized website that will resonate with their product or service pitch idea, attracting numerous potential clients.

Features

Wix offers countless features to aid you in your site development. After choosing a general concept idea for starting templates (of which there are many), Wix allows you to choose between two editing options. The first option is ADI artificial intelligence editor. This unique editing feature simply asks for some basic information about your website and it will create the site for you based on your design taste. The other editing option is a traditional manual editor where you customize each individual detail by hand off of a starting template. Both options have their advantages and both are highly effective. It all depends on what type of person the user is.

Manual editing in Wix generally consists of uploading visual content, selecting fonts, importing various media, and adding information to the website. This can all be done in a great variety of ways, and there isn’t much you can’t do when using Wix. It allows you to truly make a web page your own. Along with many formatting tools to use for editing, Wix provides a blog post feature where you can include a blog portion in your website, as well as an app store for enabling you to explore other methods of developing a web page.

Premium Versions

The basic version of Wix is completely free to use with limited features and free hosting services, however, there are paid premium versions. The differences mostly occur in the amount of bandwidth and online storage available in each plan. The cost for each plan ranges from around $9 – $26 per month when fully priced, and each one offers slightly different features when it comes to the operation of the web page.

Advantages to Using Wix

Wix is one of the most professional site development services available. All offered templates are modern and aesthetically pleasing, and the free version is the best of its kind for unpaid available features. Wix is versatile and applicable to anyone in any industry. It is the perfect way to design an effective web page for presenting a product or service, and an asset that most professionals should consider.

Developing Effective YouTube Channel Art (For All Devices)

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Having visually appealing YouTube channel art is crucial for attracting viewers and potential subscribers to a YouTube channel. When developing an image it is important to keep in mind the importance of having it professional, as well as visually appealing. Another key concern is making sure that your channel art matches up with YouTube’s recommendations and screen size template. The template is a downloadable png/psg file that can be overlaid on an image to ensure that it lines up with different recommended screen sizes. You may use this as a guideline for the placement of important details on the page in such a way that they can be viewed on all devices.

Upon downloading the screen size template from the YouTube help page for channel art, you will need a method of actually creating effective channel art. One of the best free programs to use for doing this is the visual design application Snappa. If you do not already have an account they are easy to make. Within Snappa you will be able to select a social media image template specifically for YouTube channel art. You will need to start from scratch, and then upload or choose a background image of your choice. Images and icons can be added, as well as formatted text and other features.

After this has been fine tuned and organized with all Snappa’s available features, the screen template downloaded earlier may be uploaded. You will be able to adjust the transparency in the image settings, as well as the proportional size. It can then be overlaid on top of your background. At this stage, it can be observed as to whether or not all significant detail/information will be viewed on the screens of devices. If necessary it may be adjusted to fit the space and the finished product can be downloaded. The final process is simply uploading the finished art to your YouTube channel. If this entire process was done correctly, the channel art should appear properly any device.

FlashAcademy – The Up and Coming Way to Learn a Language

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FlashAcademy is an up and coming language-learning app offering new and unique features for becoming more experienced with a variety of languages. It is available for download on iOS and Android devices and features French, Spanish, Italian and German along with others. Language courses are available in the form of interactive games and activities, and you are able to use an innovative new camera feature. Upon creating an account, a profile will be made for you where you can track your progress in lessons, as well as add friends to compete with. This is great as it acts as a method to stay accountable to your learning, as well as a way to have fun with others. There is fun and creative learning potential when you use FlashAcademy as your method of learning a language.

Interactive Features:

One of the most distinguishing features of FlashAcademy is its unique camera translation feature to assist with the learning process. When using it, you can snap a picture of an everyday object and it will translate the name of the object into the desired language. This provides a very immersive and interactive form of learning for the user.

The other interactive feature that sets FlashAcademy apart from other language apps is the “word games” activity. This is a series of timed consecutive games in which the user will match the word of their language to the word of the language they are learning. It is a fun activity that provides another method of retaining a broader variety of words.

Lesson Design:

The core curriculum of FlashAcademy is organized into multiple lessons where the user will learn words and phrases. This is done through the listening of audio and spelling of words along with other comprehensive activities. There will be a few free lessons provided where the user will learn the basics, but to unlock all lessons a subscription fee must be paid. Paid subscriptions are available for one month, three months, six months, or a full year with more economical advantages available with longer amounts of time.

Learning Potential:

FlashAcademy is a revolutionary language-learning mobile application that is sure to become mainstream in the near future. It is highly competitive compared to similar apps and offers many unique new features. Lessons are high quality and easily understandable so that anyone can easily utilize them. FlashAcademy is one of the best language-learning apps out there and should be used by anyone interested in taking up a foreign language.

mysimpleshow – Your Simple Storyboard Explainer

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Basics of mysimpleshow:
mysimpleshow is a free personal “explainer” app that utilizes keywords and visuals to organize a storyboard presentation video. It helps you to tailor a set of useful images to a specific topic of discussion. The images can be focused on business, education, or personal projects. Whatever it may be, mysimpleshow will aid you in organizing a simple script based on your topic. It operates by using existing black outline images within the app paired with a narration to explain a given idea. The images appear consecutively according to the point of discussion and are brought onto the screen using a “hand placement” animation. This is where a hand puts the image on the screen. This all works to create a simple, personalized explanation for any topic of choice.

How to Utilize mysimpleshow:
mysimpleshow will start by letting you choose a “storyline” for your explainer video. This is where you choose a professional, educational, or personal theme. You can also decide what you will be explaining during your video so that mysimpleshow can help you to base your content on that topic. mysimpleshow will provide short video tutorials for each new step during the process of creating an explanation video.

The next stage in creating an explainer is writing a script. When writing a script, mysimpleshow will give you prompts based on your discussion topic for what will be talked about at that stage of the video. For example, if your topic is explaining your business, mysimpleshow will give you tips and examples in specific stages. For this particular subject, the stages are “initial situation”, “pain points”, “solution”, and “sales argument” (with continued related stages).

After writing a script, mysimpleshow will automatically pair images with keywords within your script. These will be presented when they are used in the discussion. After you have fine tuned the images paired with their respective keywords, you may choose the audio to be used. At this stage, you can choose between two computer voices to read your script, or you can record yourself narrating. Subtitles can be added and the speed may be changed.

Many Applications
Your final project will have been completed and you may then download the finished product to share after it has been finalized. The perfect explainer will now be within your grasp. You can now use your storyboard presentation to convey a point, pitch a product idea, or simply document a theme for any purpose. mysimpleshow has a vast array of practical application.

   

G Suite Training – Simple, Interactive Tutorials for Google Apps

Using G Suite Training
G Suite Training is an interactive tool offered by Google for use within Google Apps. It provides simple walkthroughs for specific tasks in most first-party Google applications (such as Drive or Docs) and is available as an extension on the Chrome Web Store. Once added, this free Chrome extension will appear in the top right-hand corner of your drive, offering you tips and tricks once clicked on. These come in the form of videos or audio recordings, and some will have interactive features as well. The lessons offer very direct and descriptive tutorials so that you may easily learn how to complete the desired task in a Google application.

As you navigate through different Google Apps, the G Suite Training extension will follow, and offer new specific tutorials relating to the page you are on. For example, if you start out on the Google Drive page, G Suite Training will provide you with tutorials regarding creating files, sharing documents, converting files, etc. If you were to then enter a created Google Sheets file, there would be available tutorials for collaborating on spreadsheets, using data for analysis, publishing a sheet on the web, etc. G Suite Training operates like this for most Google Apps. There is a search function available above the listed tutorials as well. This is present in each Google App you navigate through. It simply allows you to search the desired instructions for a certain task.

Perfect for Anyone
G Suite Training is a perfect tool to use for those who are new to using certain aspects of the web. It is ideal for children who are first learning to use services offered by Google, or even teachers who need a thorough explanation on the proper use of Google Apps. Senior citizens and non-native English speakers as well would find benefits in the simple, direct instructions that G Suite training provides. Overall, it is an excellent tool for all groups of people who are in need of an easy to understand instructional guide for using apps by Google.

 

Google Photos – Manage Your Memories

Free Storage With Google Photos
Google Photos is one of the most well known and effective ways of storing and managing photos. Even if you are not an android user, it only takes an existing Google account to get access to unlimited photo storage with up to 16MP photos and 1080p video. While you can always access your photos account online, Google Photos is also pre-downloaded on Android devices and is available for download on iOS devices. It is free to use, and syncs all photos and videos that you take on your phone with the online cloud storage.

Search Specific Images
Google Drive includes Photos as part of its connected applications, so all Google content will be kept close by. A unique feature to Google Photos is the ability to search through your photos via keyword. Google Photos uses an algorithm to sense what object or people are contained within each image. So when you search a keyword in your photo database, related images will come up. These include general image descriptions, as well as people or locations (for images that you took on holidays, etc. while using the location services). Faces will be recognized and used to categorize images as well, and can actually be used as another method of searching images. To do this, simply go into the search bar of Google Photos and select a recognized face. Pictures containing that face will then be displayed. This is a fast and easy way to find the exact photo you are looking for.

Compose Photo Presentations 
Google Photos offers some sharing and organizational features as well. You are able to create photo albums, collages, and simple animations with Google photos, then share them with anyone on your Google contact list. This is great for selecting and presenting photos to family or friends.

Free Up Device Storage on Mobile
On the mobile version of Google Photos, there is the available option to free up space on the device’s hard drive. This is done by deleting photos that are already backed up in the cloud, so no memories will be lost when freeing up space on your phone or tablet. For whatever reason, they are available for re-download at any time.

In Conclusion:
Considering the fact that all these features provided in Google Photos are free, it can be concluded that it is a must-have application for photo saving and organization. It is simple to use and provides everyday life application for everyone.

 

 

Top Free Graphic Design Apps

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Canva.com
Canva.com is an excellent, uncomplicated way to create visual design pieces. Whether is comes to designing posters, invitations, or even social media image templates, Canva.com will likely suit your needs. Canva is also great for more business-oriented documents, like resumes or slide presentations. You can either start from predesigned templates or create something completely new from scratch. Whatever you may be designing, Canva allows you to customize font, colors, background, added elements, page orientation, as well as many other features. You are constantly able to save and download all of your visual creations completely free of charge. Canva offers great suggestions when it comes to organizing projects through templates. It provides maximum potential for organizing aesthetically appealing projects. Canva.com is overall very user-friendly and is a quick, free way to design most types of visual content.

Fotojet.com
Fotojet.com is another simple to use design program that a few key design focuses, which include collages, general page design, and photo editing. The collage feature lets you access various pre-made templates in order to create an aesthetic event invitation, card, creative piece, etc.. You are easily able to upload images and customize visuals, along with font, layout, effects, etc.. With the design option, Fotojet allows you to choose from a variety of project templates to work on. This is a universal design feature which doesn’t have as specific of a focus. It simply lets you choose a template, like a poster or social media template, and pretty much organize every aspect, similarly to the collage specific feature. The photo editing option within Fotojet is a great way to fine tune an image for use within a project. With the free version, you are able to physically alter uploaded images in aspects such as size or color. You are also able to crop or rotate the image and perform a variety of enhancing effects. Fotojet.com is another great and easy way to alter and design images as well as visual content. It is essential for the personal designer.      

Snappa.io
Snappa.io operates in a similar way to Canva and Fotojet. You essentially choose the type of project that you wish to create, and it provides you with an array of different templates to build on. There are options to organize any type of social media post, infographic, or display ad, as well as many more types of visual projects. You may choose from many available templates, which allow you to customize and design all aspects of the visual. A few of these convenient customizable features include background, image refining effects, many different font choices, clipart graphics, and others. Snappa presents the design program in a slightly more technical way than the other programs, as there are more specific aspects you are able to alter in a project. There is a paid version of Snappa that allows you to save images and access more templates. However, this is not necessary to get effective use out of Snappa. Snappa.io is another great way to design a visual project, all the way down to the fine details. It has effective use in both business and education and is a perfect utility for individual designers.

VideoNot.es – Take Perfectly Synchronized Notes on Any Video

Using VideoNot.es
VideoNot.es is a great online tool that can be used for taking notes while watching a video. It uses your Google Drive as a login and allows you to paste video URLs within the website. These videos can come from Youtube, Khan Academy, Vimeo, as well as other sources, and allows you to type notes simultaneously while watching a video. The great feature about this is that the notes you take will automatically be synced with the video at the time which you took them. They can they can then be recalled at any point to view alongside the playing of the video.

External Compatability
After finishing taking your desired notes, they can be saved directly to your Google Drive. A new folder will be automatically created for their storage once they are saved. Upon opening VideoNot.es files in Drive, you will be linked back to the VideoNot.es site where your video and notes will be stored. In addition, your notes may also be exported to your Evernote account (if you have one). In Evernote, they will be saved as a new separate note, where your points will be listed with their respective links to timestamps in the video. VideoNot.es is perfect in the way that it is almost universally compatible with these other productivity outlets.

Sharing
Featured also on the VideoNot.es dashboard is the Google Drive share button. Your content may be shared with anyone on your Google account just as if you were working on another Google document. Others can then view and edit your shared notes (depending on your share settings) just as you would any other document.

Overall,
VideoNot.es is an excellent tool to utilize in order to maximize productivity. It can have major application in the educational realm by both students and teachers but is also great for any productive person to get their thoughts organized.